Friday, April 23, 2010

A Somber Reminder

Serge and I started our day at the train station (Gare) in Angers where we left the van, so that Serge could cycle with me for part of the day and then return by train to pick up the van. In the main hall of the Gare there is a plaque commemorating the deportation of 824 Jewish men, women and children to Auschwitz in 1942, of whom 12 men, 1 woman and none of the children survived. It is hard to imagine that the beautiful Loire was occupied by Nazis 70 years ago, and that the same train station that was the start of our beautiful journey today was the start of a terrible and last journey for many others.

After we left the train station on our bikes, we immediately got lost trying to find the Velo sur Loire cycle route out of the city, and over an hour later, we succeeded in finding the Loire and the cycle route. The route then took us on a meandering ride along both banks of the Loire through villages which have existed since medieval times. I covered 85 kilometers, past chateaus and vineyards, roman ruins, and churches built a thousand years ago. The weather was wonderful, mid twenties, sunny and not as windy as the past couple of days.

All in all, it was a beautiful ride, with enough good hills to make us work. I feel great, in fact stronger than I felt during the last couple of days (maybe jetlag subsiding), and I hope to get even stronger as the ride progresses.

We are staying in an auberge called La Marine de Loire in the village of Montsoreau on the south bank of the Loire. We had a sublime dinner at Diane de Meridor, recommended by the Hotel - my Saint Jacques Bretonnes aux artichauts et tapinambours (a local tuber with a taste reminiscent of artichokes) vinaigrette tiede aux agrumes was extraordinary, a fine reward after a good day of exertion.

Tomorrow, on to Tours.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Bill! Is there any video posted? Just checking! aphrodite